What you should know:

Responsible computer use. For example: regular back-ups, virus checking, security, storage, housekeeping.


Backing up your data is where you make a copy of what is on your system. However, the original data is still left in place. The back up can be stored somewhere separately and just used in case the original data gets corrupted or deleted, or the hard disk gets damaged/stolen. The back-up can be used to restore your data to an earlier version. The key point is that if you make a backup, you are not deleting or moving the original data - it stays in the same place. Here are some areas to think about:
  • How often should you back up your computer?
  • How often should school systems that contain student attendance be backed up?
  • How often should an organisation such as amazon.com backup data?
  • What about a critical system such as air traffic control?
What medium?
  • This depends on how much data you need to backup and how often you need to backup.

How do you back up a large amount of data, often many GB?
It is important to recognise that flash memory sticks (USB drives) and CDs may not be large enough for this type of back up. You should think about a second hard disk (which should be removable), read-write DVDs or backing up to a network drive.
You should consider and where possible discuss the following things:
  • portability
  • specialist hardware required
  • cost
  • speed
  • ease of use
  • compatibility

How easy is the backup to carry around – if the backup is done on removable hard drive it is easy to carry, but if it is a hard disk drive it becomes more difficult.

Specialist hardware required
The cheapest method is tape however tape devices require a suitable tape drive. CD and DVDs are almost universal.

The cost of both the hardware and the media need to be considered. These prices are very old and need updating!
  • A CD writer costs £80 and the CD under £1.
  • DVD-RW disks are £2 each
  • 128MB flash memory stick is £50
  • A 120GB removable hard disk drive costs £100
  • A 50GB tape costs £60, just over £1 per GB. the drive to read and write the tape costs £500.

The speed of backup needs to be considered. Tape is serial and can take time to get to the required record. Direct access media such as removable hard drives, CDs and DVDs are faster at retrieving data.

Ease of Us
How easy is the device to use – a second hard disk drive can be difficult, especially if it is a removable one as it needs to be replaced each time it is used. A CD/DVD are easier to understand (remember – easier must be justified and used in comparison with something else).

This is linked to portability – not all machines can read all media. It is no good having a piece of hardware in one machine that writes backups tapes but the tape cannot be read anywhere else – what happens when there is a robbery or a breakdown and the tape drive cannot be replaced.

Here is an example of a policy for backup from the University of North Carolina

Virus Checking


This is a very good website on data lossfrom the Teach-ICT website. You should consider the following:
  1. user names and passwords
  2. access rights
  3. protection from viruses and hackers
  4. firewalls
  5. audit logs (the computer will record every important event in an 'audit file'. It records who saved what and when. Who deleted records or changed them).
  6. policies and procedures
  7. saving work
  8. backups
  9. and lastly, physical security such as locking doors, using swipe cards, CCTV.